Humanities Festival Presenter Bios | Casper College, Wyoming

Humanities Festival Presenter Bios

Admission to the festival and related events:

Festival sessions are free and open to the public with the exception of the Theatre and Dance Department's production of "Rashomon."

Sign language interpreter available upon request. Please make requests by Wednesday, February 13th by calling 307-268-2060.

Featured Presentations:


Wednesday, February 20

Lance Jones, "Missus Victoria's Sons: Around the World with the British Army 1837-1901"

12 p.m.

Lance Jones has taught history, mainly Holocaust and World War II, for Casper College. In addition, he has also been a visiting instructor for Paedegogische Hochschule-Ludwigsburg in Ludwigsburg, Germany. He has had a long fascination with the British Army, particularly in the era immortalized in Kipling's poems and stories of the "Barrack Room Ballads" nature.

Darrell Wagner, "Avoiding Cultural Appropriation" workshop

1 p.m.

Darrell G. Wagner teaches costume design and stage makeup at Casper College. His work has taken him on 18 national tours to 49 states and six countries on two continents as wardrobe supervisor for the tours of "Cats," "West Side Story," "Rent," "The Sound of Music," and "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life." He was the star dresser for the First National tour of "Jersey Boys" for 648 performances. He toured as a hair and make-up assistant on the second First National Tour of "The Producers" for two-and-a-half years. Wagner has been lucky enough to work with Chita Rivera, Ann-Margaret, and with designer Marty Pakledinaz. He designed the costumes for "The Magdalene," which ran Off-Broadway in 2010. He was commissioned to design the costumes at Casper College for the world premiere of Arthur Giron's "St. Francis in Egypt." His work as a costume designer includes "The Music Man" and "West Side Story" for Music Theater at St. Norbert College with Dudley Birder.

Thursday, February 21

Veronica Turner, "Traveling with Puccini: A Look at the Settings from Puccini's Operas"

9:30 a.m.

Veronica Turner is currently an instructor of applied voice, music appreciation, and music fundamentals at Casper College. Prior appointments include visiting instructor of voice and theory at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and adjunct professor of voice and aural skills at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska. Her performance credits include the Mother in "Amahl and the Night Visitors," Suor Angelica, Suor Genovieffa, and La Zelatrice in three separate performances of "Suor Angelica," Countess Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro," Saphir in "Patience," and Vittoria in "The Gondoliers." Turner has been a featured soprano soloist in Schubert's "Mass in G," Vaughan William's "Dona Nobis Pacem," and W.A. Mozart's "Requiem." As a recitalist, she has performed in Colorado, Montana, California, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Germany. She earned a B.M. in vocal performance at the University of Denver, an M.M. in vocal performance at the University of Montana, and has completed the coursework for her D.M.A. in vocal performance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She lives in Casper with her husband and fellow music instructor, Joshua R. Mietz, D.M.A., and their geriatric dachshund, Hannah.

Dr. Will Robinson, "Buzzin' Around the Sugar: Cultural Significance of Bees and Honey from Mesoamerica to Mesopotamia"

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Will Robinson, Ph.D. received his doctorate from Cornell University in entomology with a specialization in apiculture. Robinson has done consulting, extension, and research in bees and pollination all over the world for about 40 years, including work with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, U.S. Agency for International Development, and various universities. He has been an invited speaker at many venues around the world, including a recent speaking tour in southern Australia. Honors include a National Science Foundation Research Fellowship, and most recently, a Fulbright Specialist Award. He has published numerous journal articles, both popular and scientific, and served as an instructor in the Casper College Biology Department since 1990.

Dr. Barbara Mueller, Keynote: "Exploring the Seven Wonders of the Modern World"

12 p.m.

Barbara Mueller, Ph.D.; Keynote Demorest Lecturer, worked for Casper College for 29 years serving as anthropology department chair for 25 years and part-time director of international education for seven years. She was twice selected to be a Fulbright Scholar and taught in Bulgaria and Romania as well as in Poland as a Rotary Scholar. She has traveled to more than 130 countries and independently visited all the seven wonders highlighted in this presentation. Subsequently, she returned to examine several of "the wonders" in the company of renown scholars and archeologists. For example, in 1997, Mueller was chosen to participate in a six-week, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute titled “Maya World of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico" during which time she revisited Chichen Itza. In 1999, she toured Rome again, including the Colosseum, and Naples as part of the Fulbright Teacher Summer Classics Seminar in Italy. And in 2005, she participated in a five-week-long National Endowment for the Humanities study tour titled “Andean Worlds” and visited the major archeological sites in Peru and Bolivia. She received the Rosenthal Outstanding Educator Award at Casper College in 2006.

Dr. Caroline McCracken-Flesher, "Writing the Way West: British Authors on the Union Pacific"

1:30 p.m.

Caroline McCracken-Flesher, Ph.D. is a scholar of nineteenth-century British literature and the novel, with a specialty in Scottish literature, and the literature of travel. She has published numerous papers and publications on Robert Louis Stevenson and travel, and on literary tourism. Her publications include "Possible Scotlands: Walter Scott and the Story of Tomorrow," and "The Doctor Dissected: A Cultural Autopsy of the Burke and Hare Murders." She edited "Approaches to Teaching the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson" for the Modern Language Association, and is editing "Kidnapped" for the Edinburgh Edition of Stevenson's works. McCracken-Flesher teaches at the University of Wyoming.

Aaron M. Wood, "Michio Ito's Living Legacy"

2:30 p.m.

Aaron M. Wood is a choreographer, educator, dancer, and mixed-media designer. From 2007-2014, he danced with Utah's Repertory Dance Theatre, where he had the pleasure of performing the works of such dance legends as Merce Cunningham, Doris Humphrey, Michio Ito, José Limón, Murray Louis, Daniel Nagrin, Yvonne Rainer, Anna Sokolow, and Shapiro & Smith. He's had the opportunity to work with such esteemed teachers/choreographers as Tandy Beal, Ellen Bromberg, William (Bill) Evans, Abby Fiat, Zvi Gotheiner, Susan Hadley, Andrea Miller, and Peter Pucci. As a freelance dancer, he's performed the works of Alwin Nikolais as a guest with Ririe Woodbury Dance Company. His works have been seen internationally and nationally from Salt Lake City to Beijing. Currently, Wood serves as an instructor of dance at Casper College.

Friday, February 22

Dr. Holly M. Wendt, "One Pilgrim's Progress on the Camino de Santiago"

9 a.m.

Holly M. Wendt, Ph.D. is director of creative writing and assistant professor of English at Lebanon Valley College and holds a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a graduate studies minor in medieval studies from Binghamton University. Their writing has appeared in Barrelhouse, Memorious, Gulf Stream, Sport Literate, and elsewhere. A regular contributor to Baseball Prospectus's "Short Relief" feature, Wendt is also a recipient of a Robert and Charlotte Baron Fellowship for Creative and Performing Artists from the American Antiquarian Society and a fellowship from the Jentel Foundation. Their scholarship has appeared in The CEA Critic and "The Ballad of the Lone Medievalist" (punctum books). In 2016, Wendt attended a CIEE International Faculty Development Seminar focused on the Camino de Santiago and has taught American literature at Lucien Blaga University in Sibiu, Romania.

Teague Bechtel, "African Roots: The Blues in American Music"

10 a.m.

Teague Bechtel toured as a professional performing blues musician for over five years before attending college. He has been a main stage performer at blues festivals including the Jacksonville Blues Festival "Springin' the Blues," and "Blues at the Rock" at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando, Florida, and has completed a terminal degree in jazz studies by presenting a recital of his own compositions. These tunes were all blues-influenced jazz pieces that were part of a recently released CD titled "Back at the Roadhouse."

Eric Atkins, "La Muerte: Death and Life in Mexico"

11 a.m.

Eric Atkins studied Spanish at Casper College and was fascinated by languages and cultures in the Spanish-speaking world. After earning his M.A. in Spanish literature from the University of Wyoming in 2005, he and his wife lived in Mexico for nearly three years. During that time, Atkins learned about the history and traditions surrounding the Day of the Dead Mexican holiday through community involvement, working as a local teacher, and friends' accounts. Since taking a teaching position at Casper College in 2010, he has, through travel and informal study, explored more in-depth the finer points of El Día de los Muertos.

Jacek Bogucki, "Three Continents"

12 p.m.

Jacek Bogucki is a photographer and filmmaker who has spent the past several decades on assignments to document South America. His exhibition in the Mildred Zahradnicek Gallery showcases his photographs from regions along the Amazon and in Colca Canyon, along with images of his native Poland and current home, Casper. Awards include Best Photographer of Year from the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters and Best Video from the Associated Press of Wyoming. Bogucki has also served as the chief photographer and photojournalist for KTWO-TV NBC, ABC, and CNN Affiliate in Casper. Numerous publications also showcase his work including National Geographic.